FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement on Senate Resolution to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON—America’s Essential Hospitals supports today’s resolution from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and colleagues that makes a strong case for declaring racism a public health crisis and charts a course to improving health and health care access for people of color.
Centuries of structural and systemic racism in our country manifests today as widespread and persistent health disparities and barriers to care among Blacks, Latinos, American Indians, and other underrepresented groups. Essential hospitals see the effects of this daily in the communities of color they serve.
The influence of racism is insidious and pervasive in social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to poor health outcomes—food insecurity, substandard housing, lack of transportation, poor job opportunities, and many others. We applaud senators for recognizing the need to confront these social determinants of health as part of the solution to achieving greater health equity.
We also thank Sen. Brown and his colleagues for emphasizing the heavy toll of COVID-19 on people of color to make the case for racism as a public health crisis. The disproportionate rate of sickness, hospitalizations, and deaths in communities of color during the pandemic has been a blunt reminder of the continuing consequences of structural racism to health and well-being.
Essential hospitals are on the front lines of combating structural racism as a public health threat. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to build a just society by eliminating racism and bias in health care and overcoming the social determinants of health that prevent people and our nation from moving forward.
# # #
About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.